Kopila Round 2!
I made it back to Kopila Valley a few days ago (at some points it felt like I’d never get here) and it’s been chaos ever since! Maggie’s friend left the day after I arrived so it’s just me and the 40 kids. Luckily the aunties and uncles bear the brunt of the hard work which leaves having fun all to me- believe it or not it’s a lot harder than it might sound. Between teaching english class, practicing “football” with the girls, DJ-ing dance parties, making trips to the market, and visiting the temple with the soccer team I feel like whenever I’ve had the chance to sit down and possibly blog I fall asleep! But that’s ok with me. Unfortunately, I can only stay 10 days this summer because I have to get back to the US for university so we’re trying to cram all of the fun of last summer into a few days :)
Well we’re off to school in a few minutes! Yes, it’s Sunday morning and we have school (it will never feel right to me) So I promise to post more pictures and stories tonight when the kids go to sleep. I’m happy to report all of the girls and boys I wrote about in my blog last year are thriving and full of laughter but please let me know if there’s a student in particular you’d like an update on!
the sagarmatha girls won their first soccer game 5-0!
after nearly 6 weeks of searching for another girls team to play we finally found one! last friday afternoon we played the international school. at first the kopila girls were really intimidated because they were all wearing lip stick. my girls said “o my they’re so grown up we are going to die” i told them if my team ever played another team that was wearing lip stick we’d all laugh and say “this will be easy.” even though our girls were nervous it definitely did not show on the field. they dominated and were so aggressive i kind of felt bad for the other team. i had to remind players like Sungita and Manisha that you can’t just throw other players on the ground to get the ball. but honestly i was proud of how far they’ve come. now they are beyond confident. to think the first day we practiced they would trap the ball with their hands and stop if they were about to bump into another player and now they have no problem with getting a little rough. they looked like an entirely new team. after the game i told them to show good sportsmanship and give high fives. but before we could say anything to the other team they all ran out of the school yard…i think they were just a little afraid of the sagarmatha.
even though winning the game made the perfect ending to my trip i have to say that overall these girls showed me that soccer is about the process and not necessarily the outcome. my coach at notre dame always says this and i roll my eyes- of course we want to win. but after coaching the girls for the summer i saw that it truly is about the process of becoming a team, having fun, forgetting about problems you have at home and laughing. i think everyone would agree with this but if you stop and think about it do you really love the process? of course i don’t love getting up early for 6am workouts or running sprints and i never will. but i think i’m not alone when i say we’ve never laughed so hard when someone accidentally wore their pajamas or passed out mid bike sprint during a 6am. i think this is the part of the process that makes the outcome ever so sweeter.
i really don’t know when these little girls will find another team in surkhet to play against but i do know that they’ll be out on that field every day after school playing soccer and laughing. i feel like the soccer field has become an extension of the classroom for them. they’re becoming these little confident leaders- i can see it when Sumjana dribbles full speed down the field, Susila punts the ball past half-field or when Goma shoots it harder than most boys can . it’s crazy how far they’ve all come in a few weeks, just think in 10 years who knows what they’ll be capable of accomplishing…
according to the nepalese calendar, sunday marked the start of a new month in the year 2068 as well as the holiday of Mehendi. for this entire month women and girls celebrate by drawing henna tattoos on their hands and feet.
today was teacher appreciation day! it was definitely a lot different than any teacher appreciation stuff i ever did in school. all of the teachers sat up on the stage while the students formed one very long line. the kids gave us flowers, candies and smeared tika on our entire face to show how thankful they are but really i think they were just loving the chance to make their teachers look ridiculous :)
a few days before i left for my trip to Kopila Valley I received a little envelope in the mail. inside was a crumpled note from one of the girls my team sponsors, Hima Tamata. the note read, “dear lindsay, i love you. heema and lindsay are best friends.” when i got here i couldn’t wait to finally meet hima, the girl i’ve been following on maggie’s blog for months(blinknow.org). before i could get a word out hima walked up to me and started singing “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” at first i had no idea what she was referrring to considering its around 90 degrees here everyday. then hima pulled out the christmas card that my notre dame friends and i sent her back in december. when you open the card it plays a christmas carol. hima had memorized the song and had even memorized the note i had written inside. she named each of the girls that had signed the card and asked “are these all my friends in america?” hima’s eyes got so big when i replied yes and all she could say back was “oh ma gawd.”
maggie found hima 5 years ago breaking rocks to sell to construction companies and rummaging through garbage to support her family. she has 3 brothers and her mother is widowed. maggie helped enroll hima into school for the first time in her entire life and her mom is working again. hima’s 12 years old now and in the second grade. when i’m with hima i forget how much she’s already been through. she’s such a happy, energetic, carefree girl. she cares so much about her family and is always telling me how proud she is of how hard her mom works.
hima has the biggest heart of anyone i know. i gave her a journal the first day we met so we can continue to write notes to each other once i go home. the other morning in class she took out the journal and gave me 8 notes, one for each of the girls that signed the christmas card. each said something like “dear maddie, i love you. my name is heema. i read in 2 class. my mom breaks rock. you are my best friend. heema loves maddie.” i read through each of the following notes addressed to jordan, britney, and a couple other girls but i stopped when i got to the last one, it read “dear dreams.” i couldn’t figure it out at first but then i realized the last sentenced i had written in the card was “follow your dreams!” hima had gotten confused and thought that “dreams” was one of her friends in america. i was about to break it to her that “dreams” really isn’t a person but then she turned to me and said, “i am so lucky to have 9 friends in america. i work hard in school so one day i come visit my friends and i see dreams” after taking a second to think about it i decided maybe hima is onto something after all. right now her friend “dreams” might not exist but hima’s right, if she keeps working hard in school one day “dreams” technically will be true.
boys trip to bul bule!
last friday i took the boys soccer team to bul bule because sometimes i think they don’t like me very much! now they have to share the soccer field with the girls and on the weekends i only take the girls on fun field trips. the boys always ask me why they can’t play soccer with us or why they can’t come on the trips. they don’t see that when they play with us, the girls get so shy and never even touch the ball. but i decided to try and make it up to them because i figure the boys will never even start to respect the girls if they resent them. at bul bule, the boys decided to play soccer in a rice paddy field and managed to pop the new ball by the end of the trip, guess you can say they had fun.
i showed this quote to some of the kopila girls earlier today because i think it’s pretty powerful…but of course they just couldn’t seem to get past how short of shorts the girl is wearing (by now i should of known this would cause a riot). Hima kept covering her eyes and saying “o ma gawd, so naughty”. well, at least i tried.
sorry Bishal and Madan, you can run but you can’t hide! you crazy little monkeys have to learn your ABCS…